History of Art


Tomás Harris Visiting Professorship

2018 Lectures

Jeremy Melius (Tufts University)

Ruskin's Histories

Tomás Harris Lectures 2018

Tuesday 23 October, 2018: Being Together

Thursday 25 October, 2018: Being Apart

Archaeology Lecture Theatre G6, 6pm

The Tuesday lecture will be followed by a reception in the Department of history of Art

These lectures explore the Victorian critic John Ruskin’s fraught relation to the practice of art history. They take as a starting point Marcel Proust’s recognition that an experience of dislocation lay at the heart of Ruskin’s project. For at its best, Proust realized, Ruskin’s thought was always centred on ‘an object other than itself’ and therefore ‘materialized in space… incarnated in bodies of sculpted marble, in snowy mountains, in painted countenances.’ ‘One must seek it where it is,’ Proust wrote, ‘scattered here and there over the surface of the earth.’ The lectures thus seek to investigate Ruskin’s attachments to key sites and artefacts, and to disinter the forms of history he found there.  

Recent lectures in the series

  • 2017: David Young Kim (University of Pennsylvania): Groundwork and the Renaissance Picture - How can we bring the ground into view?  and Gold Ground as the site of possibility
  • 2015-16: Charlotte Guichard (Institute d'histoire moderne et contemporaine, CNRS-École normale supérieure-Paris 1): Performing the Name: "Signatures, Authorship and Autographie in Eighteenth-Century French Painting" and "Revolutionary Signatures: Jacques-Louis David and the Politics of Authenticity" Poster for the event (pdf)
  • 2014-15: André Dombrowski (UPenn in Philadelphia): "Temporalities of Impressionism I: Monet and the Wreckage of history" and "Temporalities of Impressionism II: Painting at the Speed of Consciousness"
  • 2012-13: Rachel Haidu (University of Rochester): "How to Teach a Sculptor: Artur Żmijewski, Grzegorz Kowalski, Oskar Hansen, Katarzyna Kobro", and "'Black is a Color': Steve McQueen, James Coleman, Black Audio Film Collective" Poster for the event (pdf)
  • 2011-12: John David Rhodes (University of Sussex): "Narrative Cinema and Domestic Architecture: The Spectacle of Property", and "Hollywood, City of Bungalows" Poster for the event (pdf)
  • 2010-11: Hanneke Grootenboer (University of Oxford): "An Overlooked Episode of Vision's History: Eighteenth-Century Eye Portraits", and "Treasuring the Gaze: Portraiture's Intimate Vision" Poster for the event (pdf)
  • 2009-10: Dr Richard Taws (McGill University, Montreal): "Time, Media and the French Revolution"
  • 2008-09: Dr Claire Bishop (The Graduate Center, CUNY): "The Social Turn in Contemporary Art"
  • 2007: Professor Michael Cole (University of Pennsylvania): "Urbanism as Exorcism at the End of the Renaissance"
  • 2006: Professor David Joselit (Yale University): "Feedback: Art and Politics in the Television Era"